~ And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about ~ Haruki Murakami
When I came upon this quote a few months ago, oh! How it resonated with me. Exactly 8 years ago, my husband and I left the UK on an extended honeymoon adventure in Southeast Asia, en route to our final destination – a new life in Regional New South Wales, Australia. Within ten months of landing on Australian soil, still in backpacker mode and adjusting to the realities of our new life, I turned 36, and our first daughter was born. And so the winds began to howl, quietly at first, but fast gaining momentum. The signs were ignored, immigration was blamed, and I soldiered on with what I now realise was Post Natal Depression. Almost three years later, with another beautiful daughter in my arms, I finally entered the eye of the storm, taking my little family down with me. Therapy and Zoloft came to the rescue this time, and I emerged, battered and bruised upon the shore – only to sink once more within two years. This time, there was nothing to blame. We were living our Aussie dream, had even managed to buy ourselves a little fixer upper in an beautiful country village, life was so sweet…and yet, I was often suicidal. I went back on my medication, and a psychiatrist diagnosed recurrent Clinical Depression. Light bulb!!! So many things about my history suddenly made perfect sense. It no longer felt like the end of the world, but rather a new beginning.
Eighteen months on from that diagnosis, I look back and I really, truly have no idea how I survived the wild and frightening storm that was the early years of motherhood for me. But I did and I am happy, and I am med free again and I am on the right path in taking care of myself. Life is good, and I am so, so grateful. And yet, it is true I am not the same person who walked into that storm. I often feel as if I have just woken up inside this life, and it can be disconcerting. It is exactly like that feeling of waking up in the morning after a storm has raged all night, to see blue skies and sunshine and no trace of the driving rain and howling wind that went before. It’s unsettling. I worked my whole life, met my husband in my early 30s when I was backpacking alone, we had adventures, we were free, I was a city person with a corporate job. Then, I went on this crazy, terrifying ride that near as dammit did for me. And now, suddenly, I am a stay at home country mum, living quietly and peacefully in a small village at the ends of the earth.
I haven’t worked these whole eight years. I believe in my role as a stay at home mum; it’s right for our family. And I love living slow and simple. However, my girls are now going on five and going on seven and I am well, and out of the blue it seems that at last, there is time for ME. What the bloody hell am I going to do with it? Well, crochet, of course!!
Crochet has been my saviour since I finally mastered the basics at the beginning of 2015. Complicated patterns require a concentration that takes me out of myself. Simple, repetitive stitches in silence are soothing and almost meditative – or they can accompany Netflix binge watching, a kind of therapy all of it’s own, in my opinion! I just LOVE to crochet. It is entirely addictive and it makes me sooooo well, damn happy. I have pondered what the future holds for me and I cannot see myself in an office wearing a suit again. Financially at my age, another degree is not cost effective. Anyway, my daughters are still young enough to need me a lot, and so here I remain. I’m sitting at my kitchen table listening to the quiet that school and preschool bring, looking at a new-to-me laptop that is quite frankly puzzling me, and opening a new chapter in my life. Today I bought a year of a domain name and I’m going to take this year to blog and crochet, no holds barred, no guilt, no shame – just live, love, laugh, write and crochet on!